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Architect of the Capitol

Preserving the Historic Buildings that Inspire Our Nation


In 1791, President George Washington appointed three commissioners to provide suitable buildings and accommodations for Congress. The commissioners selected Dr. William Thornton to design the U.S. Capitol Building. Thornton is now often referred to as the first “architect of the capitol.”

The first official use of the title “Architect of the Capitol” referring to both the person and the agency was in 1867. The title passed in and out of use until 1921, and since then the title “Architect of the Capitol” has remained the official title of both theperson and the agency.


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